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R100 SBVS reaches Pitlochry

Thursday, 08 June 2023

Gillies Mackenzie is a deployment manager for the R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme working with suppliers in the North of Scotland. In this blog, he shares updates from his recent trip to Pitlochry to meet up with Scotnet.

I joined the R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme (SBVS) team as a deployment manager for the North of Scotland in July 2020. As a deployment manager, I work with broadband suppliers based in the Highlands and Islands and Aberdeenshire assisting them with their R100 SBVS projects. This involves working with suppliers through all stages of the project delivery, from design right through to completion and billing.

Access to faster, reliable broadband has become such a fundamental part of almost everyone in the modern world’s daily lives regardless of where people live. I live on the Isle of Lewis and know first-hand the challenges that rural communities have faced over the years through the lack of connectivity.

Working remotely for the last couple of years, I was looking forward to seeing some R100 SBVS build taking place in person. I recently travelled to Pitlochry to see how the Scotnet project was coming along.

Scotnet project in Pitlochry

Scotnet  designed a network using radio links placed strategically across a challenging area, which has enabled access to superfast broadband for a number of properties. Delivering broadband to rural areas in Scotland can be challenging at times for a number of reasons. The most common issues I’ve dealt with are costs and technical and geographical issues that can cause major barriers for delivery. Pitlochry’s landscape has steep hills and dense forestry, which makes delivery of any kind of broadband solution very challenging.  

The R100 SBVS funding that’s available to suppliers gives them the opportunity to design and build broadband networks in hard to reach areas, like the Scotnet project in Pitlochry. This project will deliver to nine R100 SBVS beneficiaries in rural premises in the south of Pitlochry. The network will enable access to 100 potential customers meaning this project will benefit many in the community.

To deliver the network, a fibre connection was taken from the BT Exchange in Pitlochry up to a field on the outskirts in a village called Moulin. A six metre tower and comms cabinet was built to provide a wireless radio link 4.3km across the valley over Pitlochry and the River Tummel to the Mains of Killiechangie on the side of a hill. At the Mains of Killiechangie, a four metre tower and comms cabinet was built to access the radio link from the Moulin tower and from both properties in the valley. Both sides of the river are also served by a wireless radio link which is sent back across the valley. Over the river, there is a farmhouse 4.4km away where the Mains of Killiechangie radio link is accessed.

From the farm, both a fibre cable and mains power run up a hill 350 meters away to a mast and comms cabinet that was built. This new mast makes a service available to properties in the hard to reach area of Tulliement. The project will deliver to four properties in Dunkeld, two properties in Tulliement and three properties in Pitlochry.

I think the R100 SBVS is a great scheme that’s making connectivity like this possible for properties that are not currently in the R100 contracts or commercial coverage plans. The Scotnet project is unique  to Pitlochry because it’s a good example of a well-designed Fixed Wireless Access project that will provide broadband connectivity to multiple locations over a large and very challenging area. R100 SBVS is helping ensure that people are not left behind with low broadband speeds, which I think is making a difference to the digital divide.

For a number of years I’ve worked on broadband delivery and I enjoy seeing the life-changing benefits it brings to peoples’ lives. I think the R100 programme is essential for people living in Scotland, especially those in rural locations who haven’t had access to connectivity like this before.

About Scotnet

Scotnet is a broadband and telecoms provider based in Inverness. They have been connecting residents and communities across Scotland to faster broadband since 2005.

Scotnet are one of over sixty registered suppliers on the SBVS. They offer a range of services from ADSL FTTC, FTTP, through to dedicated Fibre Ethernet and radio connectivity solutions. Find out more about Scotnet at

Scotnet used the R100 SBVS to help create a new network for the community around the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Find out more

Fixed Wireless Access is one of the technology solutions available through the scheme. Visit our Technologies page to find out more about this and other potential solutions.